Danger Zones

Kristi Birkeland on Sep 16, 2016 6:00:00 AM

Do you have dangerous things going on in your organization that you are constantly ducking around? An under-performing sales team? A disorganized leader? A cranky receptionist? If so, how are you handling these things? Are they blocking your path to success? 

It’s true that the first step to fixing any problem is recognizing it. But what matters most is what you choose to do (or not do) after that point. Labeling a problem and then doing everything you can to avoid it doesn’t do anyone any good. So what should you do instead?

Name your issue. And don’t give up!

How many times have you brought up a concern only to have it rationalized away as temporary, not worth fixing, or less severe than you think? Maybe you’ve even managed to spot a ghost problem. Ghost problems are the best! You know, the ones that lurk around every corner, scaring the crap out of you on a regular basis? You can see them plain as day but when you point them out to others, they just tell you you’re imagining them. “Don’t be silly!” they say, “These things don’t exist!”

Finding the courage to speak up can be difficult, but it’s important to point out legitimate behaviors and processes that are causing harm. Maybe you’ve heard that others have tried to fix things in the past and have gotten nowhere. This might be true, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should keep quiet. Sometimes a problem needs to be identified multiple times before it becomes a priority. It could be that you’re the person who finally tips the scales or addresses the issue in a way that finally hits home. Maybe you will simply get lucky and catch the right person on the right day— and maybe that person loves a good ghost hunt.

Do sweat the small stuff

I know. Your life coach says you let the little things go. And this can be great advice. But when you’re talking about bad business practices, little things can become big things very quickly. If your company’s policy is to look the other way and let things slide, there could be some serious trouble ahead. Not just for you, but for the entire organization.

Be a Solution Sleuth

No one likes a tattle-tale, but everyone loves the UPS man. Why? Because he brings you stuff you need. And usually with a smile. Don’t just point out weaknesses within your company or rant about all the things that have been bothering you since the dawn of time. Approach your conversation in a professional manor, and put some thought into ways to fix the problem or improve the situation before you meet. Deliver your message like the UPS man would: quickly, efficiently, and with the best intentions.

Dig Deep

Running a top notch organization isn’t for the weak. Take a deep breath and speak up. Identify your concerns and the effect they are having on the organization. Offer potential solutions. If you’re a company leader, listen to what your staff is saying, then summon the courage to make some changes.

Track performance indicators to get that sales team back on track. Invest in a time management seminar or an assistant for your disorganized CEO. Send your cranky receptionist to a class on positive communication techniques, or help him write his resume.

Make this your new normal now— before a giant obstacle makes it impossible for you to get where you need to go.

Photo by Kristi Birkeland

Topics: Leadership + Management